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Lady Lancers topple No. 25 USF in OT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The late-season momentum keeps building for Grace’s women’s basketball team with a 74-67 overtime upset of No. 25 St. Francis on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers, winners of six of their past seven, secured the No. 4 seed in the Crossroads League with the win. Grace will host the quarterfinals of the CL Tournament on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The Lady Lancers (16-13, 10-7 CL) will finish up the regular season at home on Saturday against No. 16 Taylor at 1 p.m.

Brooke Sugg’s 18 points and Vironnica Drake’s 16 points led Wednesday’s overtime victory.

Grace put itself in an early hole during the first quarter. The Cougars (16-13, 8-9 CL) jumped out to a fast 10-2 lead and kept pressure on Grace.

The Lady Lancers did not score their second basket until midway into the first quarter. Rachel Montgomery scored a late hoop in the quarter, but Grace still trailed 23-13 after 10 minutes.

USF scored first in the second quarter with a 3-pointer to pull ahead by 13, but the rest of the quarter was owned by Grace.

The Lady Lancers held the Cougars without a point for the next six minutes and went on an 11-0 run. Micaela Box scored five points in that spurt, and Sugg hit a triple as Grace sliced USF’s lead down to two.

The Cougars managed to hold onto a 34-30 lead at halftime.

Midway into the third quarter, Grace pulled ahead. Drake converted an and-1 to tie the score, and Pam Miller scored in the paint to put Grace on top 40-38.

Sugg then hit a triple to extend Grace’s lead, and the Lady Lancers stayed in front 47-45 entering the last quarter.

The Cougars opened up the fourth quarter with six straight points as Grace’s offense sputtered. Sugg hit a jumper to spark Grace, and Drake buried a 3-pointer to put the Lady Lancers back on top.

With 1:40 remaining, Lexi Minix muscled her way into the paint for a banked shot to give Grace a two-point lead. USF responded with a triple with one minute left and a free throw on the next possession after Grace missed a jumper.

Grace had just 10 seconds to tie the game facing a 61-59 deficit, and they nearly won it. Drake blew by her opponent and hit the layup while being fouled. She missed the free throw to keep the score tied.

USF missed on a chance to win the game, and Drake tried a desperation halfcourt heave for the win. Her shot miraculously went in, but the officials ruled her shot to be after the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

The teams traded baskets in overtime for the first four minutes, and the score remained tied 65-65 with 1:30 to play. Kelsie Peterson went 2-for-2 from the free throw line to give Grace a lead, and Sugg scored with 38 seconds left for a four-point cushion.

The Cougars misfired again on the next possession, and Grace secured the victory with five more free throws down the stretch.

Sugg’s 18 points came on 7-of-15 shooting, and Drake’s 16 points came with seven rebounds.

Box hit two triples for 12 points off the bench, and Miller had eight points and a game-high nine boards.

Peterson produced eight points, and Minix tallied seven points and five rebounds.

Grace shot 41 percent from the floor compared to 36 percent for USF. Grace also held a plus-7 advantage in rebounds, and the Lady Lancers were also 22-of-25 (88 percent) from the foul line.